According to a report by TheDetroitBureau.com, Toyota is teaming up with Gazoo Razing (full name: Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring) to kickstart development and retail rollout of small-displacement, turbocharged engines. While Toyota is the undisputed leader in hybrid sales, the 274,927 gas-electric vehicles sold in 2011 – that's in total, not just the Prius – still represent a tiny portion of overall sales. By contrast, the EcoBoost-equipped Ford F-150 alone sold 100,000 units last year.
Direct injection and updated transmissions are also said to be developmental hot-buttons for Toyota. The first boosted, DI motors could be seen as soon as next year in Japan, then find their way into products for China and Europe. Outside analysts expect America to be in that pipeline somewhere, eventually, with mooted options for introduction being the next-generation Corolla or, even easier, as an added powertrain option for the new Camry.
The direction is not meant to take away from Toyota's hybrid position and expansion in the U.S., with the company still expected to put hybrids in "for just about everything we offer." Overseas, though, hybrids made the same impression as in the States, which could explain the initial markets chosen for Toyota's new tech.